BHASVIC Field Fence Proposal

Cardinal Newman school are putting in for planning permission to fence what they call ‘Benedict Field’ – known to us as BHASVIC playing field. You are invited to email them with comments by Friday 18 January.—consultation-1

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31 Responses to BHASVIC Field Fence Proposal

  1. Adrian from Wolstonbury says:

    There are people now organising at least one petitions and others responding to the request for comments. Many of us think that this enclosure of a semi-public space will be a huge loss to the people in this area. There are problems in the way it is used by some people but to deny everyone because of a few seems a real shame.

  2. sciencesoupchef says:

    I’ve been trying to find out about ownership of BHASVIC field. It’s definitely owned by the council, not the school, but I’ve heard a few people mention that it was originally given to the council by a Quaker under the provision that it’s open for use by the public. Anyone know if this is true?

  3. Richard from Silverdale says:

    Hello, yes it is true, I spoke to the lady with 2 Huskies, she has researched it, there is an underlying covenant left by the Sandeforth family( not sure of the spelling) a Quaker family who left the land to Brighton Council, under the proviso that the land is always open to the public.

    • Hi Richard…assume you are the same Richard from Silverdale I saw earlier today putting up posters in our road…this was the first I had heard about this and share your and others’ concerns. This must be allowed to happen.

      Am myself doing some research into this, particularly the thing about the Quaker’s covenent thing and am aware of the 18/1 appeals deadline.

      I often walk my three dogs there and know of several other Wilbury area residents who do the same.

      Regards…Bob Pendlebury, 11 Wilbury Villas tel 880928

  4. Sheryl says:

    Cardinal Newman say this is partly due to child protection issues. Would it not be less expensive to sort out the open rear gate leading onto the field ? They could shut it , lock it , supervise it or allow teachers to hold keys when classes play sports ? It could be open for children to access and exit for a specified period am/pm.
    Not allowing am/ pm access to field will solve the litter problems caused by these young people daily in both field and park.
    This would be similar to any other school. Leaving the gate open all day unguarded makes no sense re this issue EVEN with a mesh fence that determined individuals would surely cut to regain access.
    Good news about the covenant…..clever Huskies….

  5. Sorry, but my earlier comment should of course have read “this must NOT be allowed to happen”!

  6. HI Chaps, just a few further comments:
    1. Despite my best efforts have been unable to track down any further info about the Quaker family bequest of this land to the Council some time back, the associated covenant of which I understand made it clear that the gift of this parcel of land was subject to it being open for public use…does anyone have any further info on this?
    2. Surely planning permission should be sought/obtained before this is done and only granted after careful consultation with local residents?…there is nothing on the Council’s Planning Register to indicate this has been done…my view is it would be preferable for concerned local residents to petition the Council’s Planning Dept rather than the Head at BHASVIC…just what gives them the right to do this without consultation with the Council/local residents?
    3. Has anyone thought about enlisting the support of our local Green Party Ward Councillor, Ruth Buckley who lives just round the corner at the top end of Wilbury Crescent?
    4. Finally, have today spoken to another local resident who lives in Lyndhurst Road who totally opposes (as we do) this as she and her partner often visit the field and use it as an access to Dyke Road Park.

    Regards…Bob & Nicole Pendlebury
    11 Wilbury Villas
    tel: 880928

  7. Paul says:

    There may be more to this proposal than the ‘consultation document’ lets on. I copy below excerpts from another community list on the issue:

    “It has also been suggested that these plans are infact a precursor to the land being taken over by developers. As Katherine Ladd reveals:

    “With a quick bit of research I found a minute from a committee meeting at BHASVIC in March 2012. I have included a link to the entire file at the bottom of this email but the pertinent section is also pasted below. You will see that far from concerns about child safety, Cardinal Newman is in fact in negotiation with Goal Soccer Centres to develop the site as private, 5-aside entertainment, complete with several synthetic pitches, each floodlit, carpark and late night bar etc – every evening until 11pm and all weekend. Goal Soccer Centres appear to have stipulated that the site must be secure before they will consider the development. I assume that the company will pay very handsomely for access to such a prime piece of land.
    I find the grotesque irony of the Catholic Church using an emotive issue such as child protection to cloak their true intention to develop the field (which they do not own) beyond belief. But the larger issue is that of environmental damage.

    I find the grotesque irony of the Catholic Church using an emotive issue such as child protection to cloak their true intention to develop the field (which they do not own) beyond belief. But the larger issue is that of environmental damage.”

    The relevant section of the minutes states:

    “F&GP12/59 Goals Soccer Capital Development

    Chris Thomson presented the paper which updated the Committee on a potential capital project involving the playing fields jointly shared by BHASVIC and Cardinal Newman Catholic School (CNCS).

    The Committee noted that Peter Freeman and Chris Thomson the Chair and Business Mananger [BHASVIC] earlier in the week following a decision by the CNCS Governors that improvements to fencing and security around the playing field must be agreed before the proposed development could go ahead. The field is currently accessed by neighbours using the playing fields out of hours. CNCS have advised that they will be writing to Goals Soccer about this aspect. Chris Thomson is continuing to liaise with CNCS with the aim of progressing this quickly, however he advised that the College had serious reservations regarding the feasibility of introducing restrictions on access, however desirable for the neighbours who have had use of this facility for over 30 years.

    The Committee recommended that Corporation approval be given for SMT to continue working on development of the project. ACTION: Chris Thomson”

    Evidently there is a neighbours meeting at BHASVIC tomorrow evening (Tues 15 Jan) at which Chris Thomson, Principal of BHASVIC is commenting.

  8. Brendan says:

    I spoke to BHASVIC head today to see if there were any developments following the March 2012 meeting of governors. He said that the possible devlopment of the field, which was intended to be implemented after the fence was installed has been dropped. But he couldn’t promise that it wouldn’t come back – if you didn’t already know, there was a plan to create a sports facility once the enclosure had been done. It appears that CNCS are driving the 3m fence project – various safety reasons. I don’t think that a 3m high fence can be erected without planning consent and as far as I can tell, there is no planning application on the Local Authority web site. CNCS’s concerns are: litter (broken glass etc), dog excrement, unauthorised access, safety of school children and safety of children and others climbing the spiky railings to get in and out. The head at BHASVIC said that community access was to continue but not in the casual way that its been done for the last 30 or more years. By that I took him to mean organised groups engaged in approved activities. I agree with other comments in that, most, if not all of CNCS’s concerns could be addressed by the community so that we could retain the casual use we all enjoy from time to time. A 3m high fence would be totally unacceptable.

  9. Hi Brendan…good stuff, this thing needs to be nipped in the bud…I have asked Councillor Ruth Buckley to engage on this issue…if and when you’ve got a sec, could you please contact us on tel 880928 or email


    Bob & Nicole, 11 Wilbury Villas

    • Brendan says:

      This is a copy of the e-mail I sent on Sunday to CNCS via their feedback e-mail regarding the fence project……………………

      I have the following comments and questions concerning your proposal for the field known as Benedict Field – although most of the community know it as BHASVIC playing field.

      1. Please can you confirm what the planning application number is so that I can check the documents.

      2. Please confirm whether there are any restrictive covenants attached to the use of the land i.e. can the land be used exclusively by the current tenant(s).

      3. I note you say that the “….field has long been designated as a school playing field…..” Do you know if this assertion has any legal standing?

      4. Your statement notes the various groups that use the land but you don’t mention use by the community. Do you acknowledge that the land is used as a valueable amenity by the local community and has been for generations?

      5. Please can you explain how erecting a 3m fence will enhance student health and safety and protect the environment of the field. Does bulldozing many mature trees 10 or 15 years ago and a proposal to replace natural grass with astro-turf some 8 or so years ago count in these categories, as these are also projects proposed and undertaken previously by Cardinal Newman?

      6. We all have concerns regarding child protection issues but, as the catholic church knows only to well, the main threat to child safety comes from within the “family”. What figures have you got regarding child protection issues that justify such a proposal?

      7. How much will this project cost (your architect will have costed this for you) and where will this money come from? Will the church or Local Authority cover the capital cost and who will pay for its upkeep and maintenance?

      8. Notes on the drawing have been drafted as if the work is about to start i.e. there are clear instructions to the contractor about how to carry out the work – which is slightly worrying given that this is a consultation document. Please can you confirm when the soonest you think this work will be undertaken.

      The proposal to erect 3m high fencing is outrageous and unacceptable and if the project gets implemented you will alienate more or less the whole surrounding community. Prestonville and Goldsmid Community groups appear to be united in opposing this proposal.

      Kind regards


  10. Zubeida Ferndale Road says:

    Hi I have just phoned the planning department of the council. There has been no formal planning application yet from CNS, they are just seeking views from residents. The man from planning said when (if) CNS submit their planning application form the council will put notices on lampposts on Old Shoreham Road and send letters to residents directly opposite the field. There will then be 3 weeks to respond. That means that residents in the roads opposite the field, leading down to Lyndhurst/Highdown and the other roads off Old Shoreham Road/ The Upper Drive will not know unless they are super vigilant and read the signs on the lamppost, so we should all be on the look out. In the meantime, I am going to respond to the head at CNS as in the consultation letter but also copy my response to the relevant members of the council. I have included their names and addresses below in case others want to copy their responses to the council too, although I guess we will have a chance to do that when and if CNS apply for planning permission.
    Christopher Haw: Chair of Planning Committee Christopher Hawtree christopher.haw
    Sue Shanks: Chair of Children and Young People Committee
    Pete West: Chair of Environment and sustainability committee – responsible for green spaces
    John Peel: Support officer of Environment and sustainability committee
    Ruth Buckley, Rob Jarrett and Alex Phillips, Councillors for Goldsmid Ward
    I think we should also draw their attention to the possible link between proposal for fence and earlier discussions this year BHASVIC and CNS had in developing the site for Goal Soccer – you can find minutes at It sounds like this plan has been dropped but I think we should be super watchful…the man in Planning Dept said that the previous plans in 2006 for hockey astroturf were approved and does not know why CNS/ BHASVIC did not go ahead. Am worried enough about fence, but developing the site would be terrible.

  11. Justine (Gus) Sylvester says:

    Hello All,
    BHASVIC are holding an open meeting this afternoon (15 Jan) at 5.30pm where they are expecting to answer questions relating to the joint planning application. Do please pitch up and tip in your view if you can.

    I spoke to someone in the Estates department who seemed to think that the field is owned by B&H council (two-thirds) and BHASVIC (one-third). I didn’t find out about covenants but I’m sure they’ll be looking into this with so many recent enquiries! I have sent my suitably withering response to Newman asking them to stop citing child protection issues when the fence was originally considered as a prelude to cutting a deal with a commercial football organisation for reasons of pure self-interest. I’ve mentioned that if they were to deal with the local community with honesty and integrity, they might get a better response.

    Also, keep in mind that there will be a lot of residents living on the other side of Dyke Road Park in Port Hall who will support your campaign to keep the field open for community use.

  12. Pingback: Fence Divides BHASVIC And Neighbours – Prestonville Postblog

  13. Suggest that all concerned attend the next Goldsmid Local Action Team meeting on 22 January…have tonight asked the chair of this to post a note on this site giving details of timing/venue

    Bob, 11 WV

  14. Peter Truman says:

    I’m doing a story for the Argus newspaper and would like to chat to anyone willing about the issue. Please could you call me on 01273 544525 or email

    • Brendan says:

      The following is an exchange of e-mails between Chris Thomson and I following yesterday’s evening meeting

      Brendan, thank you for copying me in!
      If we were all to agree the note below as a minute of the meeting I would certainly need to offer some amendments and we would become involved in a fair bit of to-ing and fro-ing. Perhaps it is best to just to let the note stand as it is on the understanding that it reflects – perhaps completely accurately – impressions that were gathered at the meeting and that this does not mean it is necessarily an accurate reflection in all places of the points I was intending to communicate.
      Best wishes, Chris Thomson

      The main points made by Chris Thomson (CT) at the evening meeting were…..

      CNCS and BHASVIC get several commercially orientated offers a year to develop the field
      The Goal Soccer arrangement offered free use of facilities to schools CNCS, BASVIC and Stamford Juniors (who supported the scheme)
      Public would have to pay to use the facilities evenings and weekends.
      (CH) said he was part of the application to erect the fence as the education world would take a dim view of BHASVIC (as neighbours of CNCS) if he didn’t – the implication being that his hands were tied.
      CT said CNCS took their safeguarding responsibility very seriously. OFSTED etc etc
      CT noted two instances re existing fence; girl on bike hit by football as she cycled along OSR and boy impaled himself climbing spiky railings. So just two notable instances in recent times.
      CT said that L.A made it quite clear that even though they owned the field CNCS were responsible for safeguarding everyone either during or out of school hours and that the case above, against them, for damages (which was dropped) rested entirely at CNCS’s door.
      CT gave the impression that CNCS would not be deflected from their goal to erect 3m high fencing in order to discharge their safeguarding duty.
      CT confirmed that CNCS would be lodging a planning application asap.

      I now believe that CNCS have tried to draw out all the likely objections so that they can be addressed in the planning application and thus improve their chances of swinging consent.

      There were about 12 locals at the meeting.

      CT acknowledged and understood the various concerns and frustrations and alternative solutions but suggested we put all these to CNCS as they were leading the project. He went on to say that a commercial offer/partnership may be appropriate in the future and if he considered this to be in BHASVIC student’s best interest then he had a duty to pursue it.

      The general feeling of the neighbours/locals was that:
      they appreciated CT taking the time to meet them when CNCS would not
      the fence was a way of stamping CNCS authority on the land
      it appeared CT was happy to go along with CNCS (as explained above)
      That safeguarding was a weak excuse for commercial gain.
      That a 3m fence was in any case overkill.
      That the community could resolve almost all the concerns without putting up a big fence.

  15. Just to let everyone know I’m delivering a petition to both CNCS and BHASVIC today with over 100 signatures from residents in opposition to the fence. Many thanks to everyone who signed. The petition will stay in Naz’s shop in Lyndhurst Road for the time being, so if anyone who hasn’t done so wants to sign that would be great. Nikki

  16. Hi Nikki…great stuff…in case you don’t know, our neighbour Amanda at 3 Wilbury Villas (who, like us is a dog walker) has been organising a petition in our immediate area over the past few days.

    PS…Has anyone ever reported to the Council the seriously dangerous entrance to the field opposite Silverdale Road…ie sharp spikes on either side and a steep and slippery non-paved part immediately behind?…I myself am wary of entering there with my dogs and is completely inaccessible to older people or those with an infirmity! When it’s icy, it’s a no-go zone.

    Also, no gate to stop children or dogs from running out into the busy road! It’s like the Council/school are deliberatley trying to deter people from entering.

  17. jannetking says:

    The School/College are trying to deter people with dogs from using the field. There are several notices at the BHASVIC end of the field pointing out that dog faeces and sporting activities are not a happy combination, and asking dog owners not to bring their dogs on to the field.

    • Justine (Gus) Sylvester says:

      Yes, they’re right; dog faeces and sport are not a happy combination. But it is one that every park in the country struggles with too, including Dyke Road Park directly behind the field. Nevertheless, as a dog walker I respect that view and won’t take my dog in there. Perhaps, rather than installing a fence more suited to the Falls Road in Northern Ireland, they could a) erect signs at all entrances to the field as access is normally from the other end where there are no signs b) spend some time advertising and enforcing that rule and c) repair holes in the fence, perhaps even replace the fence, but with one that is not a towering eyesore and still allows public access through gates on each side of the field. There are ways to approach these issues, unless, of course, they are just red herrings to justify blocking public access so that they can do a deal motivated by self-interest, benefiting the select few rather than the entire local community. We’ll see, based on their willingness to stop this initial proposal, engage honestly with their local community and address genuine concerns about hi-jacking green space in a densely-populated area and potentially developing it with the same cavalier approach to their neighbours’ views.

  18. Zubeida Ferndale Road says:

    Is there any update on the Goldsmid Local Action Meeting time and venue?

  19. Hi chaps
    The next Goldsmid Local Action Team meeting is at 2PM Tuesday 22/1/13 at the dining room within the Spen Cama building at the Sussex County Cricket Club.

    The co-chairs are Clare Tikly and Adam Love

    For anyone not familiar with the layout of the ground, please email me and I will ask Clare to email you back with precise directions.

    Well worth attending as is a really good platform for local residents to air their views and concerns and is normally attended by local Councillors/Police and other relevant local officials.

    Clare and Adam are fully aware of the concerns over the BHASVIC field issue.

    Clare has also asked me to inform all concerned that the GLAT meeting following this will be at 6.30PM Thursday 7/3/13 to include further debate on this subject if necessary.

    Regards and wrap up warm!

    Bob Pendlebury, 11 Wilbury Villas tel 880928 email

  20. Hi…email recd today from Councillor Ruth Buckley:
    “Dear all, I thought I’d email the 25+ residents who have contacted me recently about the above issue.

    Firstly, I’d like to say I am in agreement with you. I think the fence proposal would remove a valuable asset from the community.

    Secondly, I thought it would be helpful to add some context and co-ordination to the issue. CNS has held a consultation regarding fencing off the field. The reason they state is safeguarding the school’s children. Examples of the need for safeguarding are:
    dogs off their lead being walked through the playing fields during PE lessons
    dog poo
    hypodermic needles
    …preventing the pitch being used during school hours

    The Council owns the majority of the field though it is classed as a playing field and therefore should not be seen as a public space. The Government has recently promoted the use of school playing fields by the community, however they do state this should be through organised use.
    So far, the school have not made a planning application. When they do and if the officers seek to grant approval, the local Councillors can object and the issue brought to Planning Committee. At present the plans would be brought automatically to Committee as the Council have recd so many objections, including my own.

    I would like to propose one resident organise a meeting to plan how to structure resident objections. As a local Councillor, it would look better for me to attend the meeting though not to organise it. Once this is organised, I can ask a Planning Officer to attend and be available for any questions needing an answer. The residents’ petition is only counted as one vote. Once the application is submitted, it is IMPERATIVE each resident writes a separate letter of objection detailing different reasons. This can be discussed in full at the meeting, please do not send these objections in now.

    If anyone would like to volunteer to either hold the meeting at their house, or be the meeting organiser let me know and I can send the email addresses through. I will also add to the email distribution list if I receive any further objections, thereby we can ensure all concerned residents are informed and involved.

    Any thoughts, please let me know.

    PS…a resident has come forward to organise and possibly host the meeting”

    Councillor Ruth Buckley email

    Regards…Bob, 11 Wilbury Villas

    PPS…if needed, we can host any such meeting at our house…we have plenty of space (Bob)

  21. Brendan says:

    I’m not sure who it was but, a neighbour was checking the restrictive covenants issue re the playing field i.e. retained for community use. Does anyone know if the results of that search are avilable?

  22. Zubeida Ferndale Road says:

    I have heard that a meeting has been organised at Grace Eyre Centre between 7-9pm on Tuesday 29th January – Friends of the Field. My thoughts are that it would be most effective for everyone to join together in one big opposition group rather than several small ones, and wondering whether this is the kind of meeting that Ruth Buckley had suggested in her email or if there was another one planned in addition. Anyway, most importantly, if you are concerned about the proposal, then come to the meeting. See you there!

  23. Hi…all I can find on the internet about the usage of the field is an entry entitled “Publiv (sic) access to Dyke Road Park” which records email exchanges between Ms Melody and B&HCC under the Freedom of Information Act” beginning 02/02/12..

    Richard from Silverdale posted an entry 13/01/13 on the Friends of Dyke Road Park site concerning the restrictive covenant which was applied as a condition when said land was bequeathed to the Council by the Stanford Estate…can Richard enlighten us more about this and his source of information as I can’t?

    Delighted to learn about the proposed meeting at Grace Eyre Hall on 29/01/13…will be there!

    Bob, 11 WV

    • suzanna says:

      I’ve applied to Land Registry for details of the original restrictive covenant from 1914. Hopefully will have it in time for the meeting on 29th.

      • Brendan says:

        Dear All.

        As I’m part of an agent’s forum at the council I get e-mails like the one below. This could prove a useful way of forcing more protection on the field. So I urge everyone to nominate BHASVIC field as a heritage asset.

        Also, I was in the map room at the museum last week and although I didn’t have much time, I did find that BHASVIC field was designated as Recreation Ground in 1936. I will pop back and see when it changed to playing field.


        Dear Sir/Madam,

        The council is currently carrying out a review of the Local List of Heritage Assets. This is a list of buildings, parks and gardens considered to be of special interest, because of their local historic, architectural, landscape or townscape value.

        We’d like your nominations for historic buildings, parks and gardens you consider to have special local interest. Nominations are open until 28 April 2013.

        Further information is available on the heritage webpages, including a guidance document and a copy of the current local list. The guidance document sets out what a local heritage asset is, the implications of local listing, the selection criteria and how to get involved. The guidance document also provides information on where you can undertake historic research. Alongside these resources, I will be present at the Brighton History Centre on Friday 22 February and Saturday 9 March in order to answer questions and facilitate research.

        Nominations are invited via the consultation portal ( It is important that your nomination clearly indicates how you feel the asset meets the selection criteria. If insufficient information is provided, it will not be possible to assess the nomination.

        If you have any questions, or would like hard copies of any of the information, please do get in touch.

        I have attached a pdf version of our associated poster. If you are able to display this somewhere prominent, it would be much appreciated

        Sanne Roberts

        Conservation Officer

        Hove Town Hall

  24. david shelton says:

    As an “Old Boy” of Brighton, Hove & Sussex Grammar School, I have been following the arguments for and against the field use and ownership. I always thought that it was a school playing field and did not have access to the public. After all there is a park to the north, Dyke Road Park. Since when were the public allowed to use the field as a park? What happens if pupils from the different schools become infected by dog excrement from the dogs let loose? I don’t know of any other school field that is allowed to give access to the general public just because it is an open green space. On another tack I am pleased that the motion to build a new school there has been defeated and the field can be kept for sport.

    • Brendan says:

      Hi David.

      Looking in the archive section at Brighton Museum, it could be the other way round. That field was an allotment site and a recreation ground before the schools began to use it. May be, it is the schools that should be treading carefully – so to speak! My view is that I am happy to share this green space with them and I want to keep it as an open and green space for use by the schools and local community. However, CNCS and BHASVIC always seem to have one plan or another to develop the site and introduce a commercial aspect which will eliminate public access.

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